Coaching for Leadership
It was a very stressful Tuesday morning. The kids were going to be late for school again, and I needed more time to prepare for an upcoming meeting. Rather than bark orders at my kids to put on their jackets, put on their shoes, etc., I remembered what I had learned the previous day in my coaching course. I took a deep breath, and asked, “What’s next?” This took a lot of faith that they would know what to do. Thankfully, they knew exactly what to do next after putting on their shoes.
Days went by, and “What’s next? ” was soon replaced with “OK guys, we’re leaving for school in 5 minutes.” Another anxiety attack – followed by relief, when to my surprise my kids automatically went through the actions of getting themselves ready for school – shoes… Jacket… lunch bag…backpack….
I changed my belief from needing to do things for others to believing they can do things for themselves. I changed my approach from TELLING to ASKING. I changed from solving problems to empowering others to solve problems. I changed from focusing on the past to focusing on the goal and the future.
What is coaching?
Coaching is quickly being recognized as one of the most valuable people-focused services in organizations. According to the International Coach Federation, “Coaching is a partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” SAP recognizes the value of coaching and supports an internal pool of experienced and competent coaches available for all its employees to receive coaching on topics ranging from life, career, business, leadership and cross-culture.
Like coaching, other practices such as sport coaching, mentoring, consulting, training and therapy are available to help you achieve your goals. Not to be confused with sports coaching where the coach is the expert who directs individuals or teams to correct behaviours that may be poorly executed, business and life coaches leverage the experience and knowledge that individuals or teams already have to identify and determine how best to achieve their goals.
Coaching is also often confused with mentoring. In a mentoring relationship, your mentor has the knowledge in the industry or career development area you seek and can share their experience and network with you, whereas in a coaching relationship you hold the key! The coach’s role is to guide and support you in the process of unlocking your hidden potential. 🙂
One of the great benefits from those receiving coaching is how quickly they can achieve their goals. This is because coachees (people receiving the coaching) own the topic/goal and are responsible for the solutions. The coach provides support by owning the process in achieving the goal. Coachees often walk away from coaching engagements with new perspectives that clarifies the decisions they need to make. The increased confidence in themselves leads to greater personal satisfaction and productivity.
It was easy for me to reflect and logically agree that I have given my children ample instructions and have created the environment (putting their jackets and shoes within their reach) where they can get themselves ready for school. It wasn’t as easy for me to let go of old ways, and in the end I did because I wanted a better situation for myself and my children.
Now, I have children who are more self-confident and happier. I myself have less stress. The switch from advocacy to inquiry is powerful. The use of questions as a starting point is powerful! I now have better relationships with my children, listen and try to understand them better. I have been a business and leadership coach at SAP for the past 3 years, and love every opportunity to engage my colleagues in coaching conversations.
What about you? What opportunities do you see with Coaching?
(Please follow me on Twitter: @JayChaos)